High school coach pleads guilty to Miss. charges

Published 2:20 pm Thursday, June 30, 2011

A longtime high school football coach has pleaded guilty in Mississippi to 14 counts of luring teenage boys into having sex.

Dwight Bowling, 56, who coached football in Mississippi and Alabama, entered the plea to the state charges in Monroe County Circuit Court in Aberdeen, Miss. The plea covered charges filed against him in Monroe and Itawamba counties.

The charges included fondling, sexual battery, child exploitation and bribery of a witness.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Circuit Judge Jim Roberts read each count to Bowling, who answered “yes sir” when asked if he was guilty. Bowling made no other comment.

Roberts said he was deferring sentencing until later. He said Bowling would remain in federal custody.

Prosecutors said at least three different minors were victims in the case. The judge allowed prosecutors to detail the activities Bowling was accused of and allowed them to play an audiotape of a phone conversation between Bowling and a minor.

Bowling was arrested Sept. 18, 2010 when he returned to his Mississippi home after coaching Sulligent High School in Alabama to a victory. Authorities said a 13-year-old boy who was with Bowling at the time of his arrest accused him of improper touching.  

Bowling coached 28 years at Smithville High School in Monroe County, Miss., before retiring and taking a similar job at Sulligent High in Sulligent, Ala.

Bowling pleaded guilty earlier this year to three federal charges related to the investigation. A federal sentencing date is pending.

Court records show Bowling pleaded guilty in April to two federal counts of taking a minor across state lines, from Mississippi to Alabama, for sex. He pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction for trying to get someone else to lie to investigators.